In the late 1980s, I went to a party at a beautiful Victorian house that a young white yuppie couple had bought — cheap — and begun to remodel. The reason this house was cheap was because it was in San Francisco’s Western Addition neighborhood, which was (at least then) a predominantly poor black neighborhood. The hosts loved their house, but were re-thinking their decision to move there, because they were on the receiving end of so much aggressive racism. The local residents routinely smashed their car, wrote racist (anti-white) epithets on their doors, pelted them with eggs when they walked by, and hurled racially charged threats and imprecations at them whenever they stepped out doors. The stories they told made it sound as if someone had taken D.W. Griffith’s rabidly anti-black racist movie Birth of a Nation, which was made in 1915, printed up the negative, turning white into black and black into white, and then reissued it, circa 1989.
What I learned today is that the experience these yuppies had almost twenty years ago is not unique. The same thing is playing out in Baltimore, where whites are moving into previously black urban areas and are being attacked, not on economic grounds, but on race grounds. I guess the residents haven’t been schooled in phrases such as “I’m going to get you, you f****** plutocrat.” If it’s going to get ugly in America, it’s always going to be about race, isn’t it?
We can expect more of the same as increasing fuel costs make white flight — and the accompanying long commutes — sufficiently expensive that whites begin again to explore city living.